Fort Worth Zoo opens Elephant Springs
Second phase of a wilder vision
It’s big, it’s wild, and it’s wet. But that’s fine with the residents, in this case elephants and rhinos.
Elephant Springs was opened as the newest habitat in Fort Worth.
The Board of Directors and Executive Director of Fort Worth Zoo officially opened the new habitat on April 15th, which includes several lush green spaces and various watering points for Asian elephants and a larger rhinoceros to roam.
“We are excited about these amazing new habitats, and I have to thank the citizens of Fort Worth who continue to provide generous support to the zoo,” said Ramona Bass, chairman of the board of directors of the Fort Worth Zoological Association. “Without them, none of this would be possible.”
Elephant Springsis phase two of A Wilder Vision, the $ 100 million capital campaign announced in 2016 that includes new spaces, renovated living spaces, merchandise locations, toilets, and most importantly, new ways to observe, interact and learn about animals.
“As the country’s No. 1 zoo, we are confident that the changes and improvements that are taking place here will further improve our profile as the best zoo in the country and as an international leader in animal care and welfare.” said the President of Fort Worth Zoo, Ardon Moore.
“We are excited to meet guests here at the Fort Worth Zoo face-to-face with some of the most unique creatures in the world,” said Michael Fouraker, executive director of the zoo. While these animals have been living at the zoo for some time, guests can get closer to these animals and get involved in ways they have never been able to do before. Elephant Springs will also shed light on the struggles many of these animals face in the wild. “
The highlights include:
- The Asian elephant herd roams between several courtyards (including behind-the-scenes areas) and watering holes.
- Larger unicorn rhinos explore the neighboring habitats. Expanded spaces for this endangered species allow the zoo to continue its breeding and conservation program.
- Watch the herd from a floating themed village. The space also includes toilets and goods.
- Interact with the herd by spraying streams of water into the 400,000 gallon river. Water is an important source of enrichment for Asian elephants.
- In addition to educational programs such as keeper chats and training demonstrations, Elephant Springs also offers messages on protection and environmental responsibility.
That is part of the habitat that can be seen. There’s more behind the scenes:
- Fifteen individual booths to give the animals their own spaces, although many of the booths are interconnected and can open up into a larger space.
- In an air-conditioned environment, the exhaust fans are constantly in motion and ensure that the air circulates continuously. Heating elements are also available if required.
- The sandy floors offer the herd additional comfort and will create an ideal kindergarten for calves in the future.
- Several neighboring farms are accessible if the animals venture out into the open overnight.
- A prep kitchen, pantry and hayloft on the second floor provide easy access for the herd to store food.
- Indoor and outdoor exercise rooms provide the zoo keepers with the opportunity to get close-ups and, in some cases, hands-on examinations of the animals.
- The barn contains portable floor scales so keepers can be sure that the animals are within a healthy weight range.
- State of the art water filtration system that can filter 400,000 gallons of water and return it to the habitat.
The next part of A Wilder Vision will be Hunters of Africa & Asian Predators, which will completely redesign parts of the zoo, allowing expanded habitats for lions, tigers, hyenas, African wild dogs, cloudy leopards, cheetahs and several exotic bird species. African hunters and Asian predators will open in 2023. The African savannah is already open. The final stage – forests and jungles – is developed in the heart of the zoo just before visitors reach Texas Wild!
Asian elephants and a larger rhinoceros will explore the numerous lush green habitats, waterfalls, and watering holes, including a 400,000-gallon river. The space will also include a floating river village, themed items, and additional toilets.
The following vendors played an important role in moving Elephant Springs from vision to reality.
The project group
Senior design architect
Fowlkes Norman & Associates
Halbach Dietz Architects
MEP / FS engineer
Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
Site manager in danger